Twelve-Episode Anime

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Series running about half the length of the standard 24-26 (depending on holidays) episode season. These shows are Short Runners, but for these, that was never a bad thing. Scheduled for a 3-month airing slot if aired weekly.

This format has become popular (see 12 and 13) in recent years as a compromise to the sometimes sporadic nature of OVAs and the longer, sometimes filler-ridden, standard season. Being a smaller time investment and financial risk, it is much easier to determine if a show will be successful. For this reason, many Western live-action shows have adopted this schedule, at least at first.

Shows that are successful often get another (12-episode) season, essentially achieving a "normal" length. When released on DVD, a bonus episode is often included, making the set a Baker's Dozen.

Most of these series tend to air at Otaku O'Clock. See also British Brevity.


Series with 12 episodes[edit | hide | hide all]

Series with 11 episodes[edit | hide]

Series with 13 episodes[edit | hide]

Series with 14 episodes[edit | hide]

Odd cases[edit | hide]

  • Aria The ANIMATION and The ORIGINATION (Season One and Season Three) are both 13 Episodes in length whereas ARIA The NATURAL (Season Two) is 26 episodes long.
  • Asagiri no Miko has 26 episodes, but each is under a quarter of an hour long, half the "standard" episode length.
  • Ayakashi Samurai Horror Tales is an unusual case; it's a 12-episode series and was aired as such on Japanese television, but is actually an anthology consisting of three separate 4-episode animes by completely different production groups. (The final series in the anthology, "Bakeneko", ended up with its own spinoff--Mononoke, also a 12-ep series.)
    • Blue Literature follows the same format, with five arcs adapted from Japanese literature.
  • The anime series of Black★Rock Shooter is eight episodes long, and was aired in NoitaminA. If you count the OVA (which was released two years earlier and is in a separate continuity), then it had nine episodes in total.
  • As mentioned in the main article, many live-action Western shows are adopting this, such as NBC's Chuck. During the 2007-2008 season, however, a lot of this was the unintentional result of that season's Writer's Strike.
  • Fate/Zero's first season has 13 episodes, but it's effectively 14 episodes, because the first episode is 45 minutes long. This was apparently done to get the humongous amount of prologue exposition (for a show which is itself a prologue for an entire franchise) out of the way in the first episode, so the second season will probably be a normal 13 episode season.
  • Full Metal Panic!'s two sequel seasons, Fumoffu, and The Second Raid had 11 and 13 episodes broadcast, respectively. Fumoffu was originally scheduled for 12 episodes, but one episode was pulled from broadcast due to its kidnapping plot having parallels in Real Life at the time. The Second Raid had a separate 30 minute OAV produced afterwards.
  • Kamichu! had 12 to start, with four DVD-only episodes interspersed between the broadcast episodes. (A ploy to get people to buy the DVDs, as the DVD-only episodes are not strictly filler.)
  • K-On!'s first two arcs are only twelve episodes, but the show ended with a special episode outside of the second arc. Then it sky-rocketed in fame and fortune, and the second season got 26 episodes.
  • Shiki has 22 episodes plus an OVA episode 20.5.
  • The fourth season of Slayers ending up being split into two 13-episode seasons instead of one 26-episode season. Of course, Revolution leaves a lot of plot threads for Evolution-R to pick up, but season five did get a new OP and ED...